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News » Miami Heat Getting Inside 2009-11-18

Miami Heat Getting Inside 2009-11-18

Miami Heat Getting Inside 2009-11-18Wednesday's game in Atlanta is meaningful for the Heat on two levels.

Foremost, it is the resumption of a head-to-head series that came to a head last season when the Hawks eliminated the Heat in seven games in the first round of the playoffs.

It also brings the Heat face to face with guard Joe Johnson, who might be a coveted free agent next summer, when the Heat will be able to add at least one A-list free agent to its cast.

Before the Heat played the Hawks in its exhibition finale, Johnson sought out Dwyane Wade in a hallway at Jacksonville's War Memorial Arena. The two embraced and shared a few laughs before Wade introduced Johnson to other Heat teammates.

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"I've got some pretty good friends on that team," Johnson said. "It's always fun to be around them."

For now, the embraces will be limited to those that precede the opening tip. It is a rivalry heightened by last season's playoffs.

"I don't think it's a rivalry," Johnson said. "I just thought we had a pretty tough series. Everybody pretty much tries to make to make it a rivalry, but it's just another team that we're trying to stay on top of, stay ahead of, and just try to keep them off our back."

Johnson also knows the Heat will be keeping an eye on him throughout this season.

"I'm sure there will be some chaos," he said. "No one knows what's going to happen."

Asked if he finds it odd to be viewed as a fallback position, with the Heat likely to first make runs at LeBron James and Chris Bosh, Johnson said, "Not at all. I'm going to do my part. I can't worry about the next person or what anybody else is going to do."

THUNDER 100, HEAT 87: The Heat's lack of athleticism was exposed by the quicker, more aggressive, hungrier Thunder. With Kevin Durant scoring 32 points for Oklahoma City and Heat guard Dwyane Wade limited to 6-of-19 shooting, this essentially never was a game. An early 20-1 run by the Thunder set the tone.

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Author: Fox Sports
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Added: November 18, 2009


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